i have read alot of info on dehorning and have really never done any. how young can you dehorn and what is the least messy way? i have heard of dehorning paste does it work? or is it better to let the vet do the job?
I've never used the paste, but have heard that it works. Have used the blade type dehorner on young stuff and it definately works. You get a little blood, but it usually stops fairly quickly. I generally spray the wound with Wound-Kote to help the blood to clot and to keep insects/infection out. Hope this helps.
dehorning with paste is not very good, because when the calf nurses there is always the possibility that some of the paste gets on the cow's udder, leaving really bad wounds and/or infections.
i have a burning tool, basically its a metal tube, that gets electricaly heated, then you just put it around the base of the horn for 20 seconds, and you're done. it hurts the calf for a day or so, as opposed to the paste, which can be painful for a couple of weeks. in my experience calves don't nurse so well when they are in pain, and thus i loose out on initial growth.
you can use this burning device (don't know the english word for it) as soon as the little stubs start popping out.
> We have used dehorning paste and it works great, but we did use it on calves that are bottle fed. I usually did it within the first week. How I did it was to cut the hair around the nub and on the nub,then wet it down to wash the loose hair off(just so its damp)then put the paste on with an old tounge depressor.(popsicle stick)dont get any on you cause it will hurt. I accidently got some on a calves ear and it burned a piece right out of it. The calves do shake their head a little but for only 20 minutes or so.
If we need to dehorn, we usually do it at branding time, (June ) along with castrating and shots. We use the hot metal type of dehorner. Have used the paste, but you do not want it to get on you, nor anywhere else. And mom has a tendency to lick their babies, to its a bit tricky. If you miss them at that time, you can cut them down later at weaning if you desire.